Iranian activist demands UN offer sanctuary for fear of persecution

Iranian activist demands UN offer sanctuary for fear of persecution

Shafaq News/ Iranian activist on Monday urged the United Nations (UN) to offer sanctuary to Iranians who participated in anti-regime protests in their home country.

"Civil activists, particularly those involved in the protests in Iran, are at peril," Rizgar Rahman Barzanji said in a press conference near the UN headquarters in the capital city of Iraq's region of Kurdistan, Erbil.

"We demand the United Nations grant us asylum," he said, "we hope they do not reject our applications because we might be facing death if we go back to Iran."

Barzanji said that dozens of Iranian activists have applied for asylum to seek protection from Tehran's persecution and human rights violations.

Nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini have ushered Iran into a new era of deepening crisis between the clerical leadership and society at large.

Amini's family said she was beaten after being arrested by the morality police on September 13 for violating the Islamic Republic's imposed dress code. Amini died three days later. Authorities have blamed the 22-year-old's death on preexisting medical problems.

Her death unleashed years of pent-up grievances in Iranian society, over issues ranging from tightening social and political controls to economic misery and discrimination against ethnic minorities.

Facing their worst legitimacy crisis since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran's religious leaders have tried to portray the unrest as breakaway uprisings by ethnic minorities threatening national unity rather than its clerical rule.

Protesters from all walks of life have taken to the streets, calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic. Women have torn off and burned the compulsory headscarves in fury.

Iran's rulers have accused a coalition of “anarchists, terrorists and foreign foes" of orchestrating the protests in which the activist HRANA news agency said 506 protesters had been killed as of Dec. 21, including 69 minors.

HRANA said 66 members of the security forces had also been killed. Two protesters have been executed, drawing strong Western condemnation, and thousands have been arrested

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